Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Nerds List

(aka more shameless pulling of memes from friends' FB pages because I refuse to ADD any information to what FB already knows about me. But I'll put it here, lol...)

Book Nerds List:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES blog post. Bold those books you've read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Hmmm.... I guess I'm just weird. I've read 32 of these. And, shameful admission, of the ones I have not read, most are books I don't plan to read.

Te be fair, I read (for the first time) The Time Traveler's Wife for a book club (and loved it!) . Rebecca (meh) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (blech!), too.

Oh, and I counted audio, too. Cuz if I'd read a paper copy of that Albom crap, The Five People You Meet in Heaven I'd have tossed it about 5 pages in, but it made okay background noise for my morning commute. Ditto Moby Dick, which was not awful, but all that (grossly inaccurate) whale talk in written form would've driven me mad...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Music Mania

I avoid facebook as much as I can, but, sometimes, late at night, when no one is tweeting and it's not my turn in Words with Friends and I've already played the daily Qrank quiz... Well, then I'll load up ye olde FB app on my phone and see what people had to say...

Last week my friend Lisa had a meme that looked like fun, so here goes:

Expose your terrible musical taste!

by Lisa on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 08:25

I'm playing along with the latest meme... here are the rules:

  • Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.

  • Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.

  • Write down the first 15 songs that come up--song title and artist--NO editing/cheating, please. Just because you might skip the song when it comes up or be embarrassed for people to know you have it in your collection, you still have to list it.

  • Choose a lot of people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I'm betting that your musical selection is entertaining, or at least amusing. ( I don't tag people on memes any more)
Without further ado...

  1. "Little Girls" - Oingo Boingo -- This song was a lot better when I was teenager wanting to date guys in their 20s. As the mom of a little girl now, well, I still like the song, but find the lyrics a bit perturbing...

  2. "Love You Out Loud" - Meat Loaf -- one of my faves!

  3. "Another One Bites the Dust" - Queen

  4. "Copywrite (Do It All Damn Night)" - Strata G -- Everyone panned this goofy ad-rap album written by a copywriter, but the lyrics make me laugh.

  5. "But It's Better If You Do" - Panic at the Disco

  6. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin' " - Nancy Sinatra

  7. "Found Out About You" - Gin Blossoms

  8. "Lucky Ball and Chain" - They Might be Giants

  9. "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns 'N Roses

  10. "Walk Like an Egyptian" - The Bangles

  11. "Only the Young" - Journey

  12. "Why Isn't That Enough" - Meat Loaf

  13. "Love is Not Real / Next Time You Stab Me in the Back" - Meat Loaf

  14. "Don't Stop Believing" - Journey

  15. "I Got You" - Train
In my defense, my phone was still loaded with my pre-Meat Loaf concert selections when I did this last week...

And I <3 Meat Loaf.

The Journey? Well, I love Journey, too, even if it does make me old.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tirade: Walk much?


I live in Central Texas. Where the climate is, though it pains me to admit it since I really hate the heat, pretty easy to live with year-round.

Don't get me wrong. I hate the heat and, if I'm honest, after living here for the last 27 years I get a bit uncomfortable when things drop below 50, too. But it's all livable.

I don't live somewhere with torrential rains, ice storms (except for the occasional freak one), heavy (or even any) snowfall. Nor do I live somewhere so arid and hot (have you ever been to Death Valley, California? I have. It's pretty much hell on Earth. Literally.) that breathing the air hurts.

So, I ask you: WHY in the hell do perfectly healthy people have someone drop them off at the door to a store?

They are not aged, infirm, or toting a small child--the only three reasons I can think of for this sort of incredibly indolent behavior, given our climate.

So far as I can tell they are just bone lazy. And inconsiderate. The drivers invariably stop in the center of the driving lane, thereby blocking progress through the lot for those of us who know how our legs work. I am *ahem* significantly overweight and my fat butt can walk through the parking to and from my car.

If they had a large load of groceries it would still be aggravating, but slightly understandable. I've had the husband pull up to the store a couple of times when the weather was really nasty and I had a lot of groceries to load in the car.

My issue is with the people who are dropped off at the entrance while the driver goes to hunt for a parking place. Is it really going to make that much of a difference in their day if they take another five minutes to get inside the store? Are they going to drop dead of exhaustion after the 200-foot walk?

WHAT is wrong with these people?!

Photo courtesy of stringberd via

Yes, I had to go shopping this weekend, grocery and other retail outlets and my path was blocked by people doing this every where I went. Literally. *grumble*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Tirade: A Shoe In...

~~~Justin: this is NOT for you. Seriously, I'm discussing lower limb issues, you don't want to read. If you decide to, well, I tried to warn you.~~~

Jay has lymphedema. She was born with it, which is known as Milroy's Disease for the curious or bored. I don't talk about it much because it just is what it is and I have a separate blog devoted to the topic at lymphbaby, that I update even less frequently than this one, but I'm peeved, so here goes.

WHY is it so hard to find ~anything~ in this country that is outside the accepted norm of sizes? A few statistics to help my case:

  • The incidence of lymphedema in the United States is estimated at 2.5 million, yet more than 100 million people are affected worldwide. (Source)
  • If you have developed lymphoedema, you are not alone; it is estimated that well over 100,000 men, women and children in the UK are living with the condition. (Source)
  • Geographically speaking, the US is 40 times the size of the UK. (Source)
  • The US has 25 times as many lymphedema sufferers as the UK (per data above).
Jay's LE (the accepted abbreviation for lymphedema, which you'll see a LOT because I get tired of typing the word and after 9 yrs still tells me I'm spelling it wrong!) is in her feet and toes. To top it off the poor kid has ~my~ feet underneath it all (wide foot, short toes and tiny nails).

In her case the swelling on the top of her foot begins just at the base of her toes and goes to the front of her ankle as well as to the sides and, less severely, to the bottoms of her feet and toes.

I say this because while shopping for 2-3x wide shoes is hard enough in this country, wide is not her only issue. Until I started ordering from a site in the UK a couple of years ago she never owned a pair of properly fitting shoes. In order to get something that would cover the height of the top of her foot (the dorsum---I had to learn all this stuff so I can sound erudite when I explain it to each new specialist) we've had to buy shoes that were 1-2x wide and anywhere from 1/2 to 2 1/2 sizes too big/long so she wouldn't have to go barefoot, since, well, you can't go to school barefoot...

What about custom/prescription footwear?

I tried. When she was about 18 months old I asked her pediatrician (who is, btw, ~awesome~) if we could get a scrip for custom shoes, like they do for kids who need specialized orthopedic shoes. She was uncomfortable writing the Rx since it's a bit wide of her field and recommended we seek a pediatric orthopedist. So I did.

It's been 7+ years and I am STILL angry about that day. I found a specialist, I waited months to get her in, I paid the ridiculous specialist co-pay (2x the norm) and we saw the doctor. A doctor who couldn't seem to wrap his brain around the fact that I wanted a scrip for custom shoes. I needed the prescription because (a) I don't know who to call for custom shoes and (b) custom footwear is waaaay outside our budget.

He was fascinated by her feet. He'd never seen anything like it. We were there three hours and he brought every doctor in the practice, every nurse, and even a couple of pharma and orthopedic supplier reps who were making calls into the exam room to see her feet.

Then refused to write the scrip because, and this is a quote, "I don't see how I can help you. I'm an orthopedist."

Fast forward through 4-5 years of over-sized poor fitting shoes that were still a trial to find. Someone on one of the LE listservs I'm a member of sent me a godsend of a URL: Go check it out. You can shop for shoes by size (UK shoe sizing being one of many thing on my long list of things I've had to learn since she was diagnosed at about 6 weeks old), by style, by medical condition you need to accommodate.

And I've bought at least one pair of shoes for her from them every year since then.

Then the economy tanked. Last pair I ordered was in January of this year, when the pound was still pretty weak, too. It's not, now, and I discovered Sunday that while I can order her shoes, I'm going to have to budget for it a bit more since the dollar is weak to the pound just now.

Great. I couldn't justify spending 2+ weeks of daycare on a single pair of shoes without at least trying to find a resource in the U.S. Which pretty much ate the rest of my Sunday afternoon and early evening.

Here are some of the things I (fruitlessly) Googled:
  • lymphedema shoes U.S.
  • extra extra wide shoes
  • specialty shoes for medical conditions
  • lymphedema shoes
Found lots of sites. Lots of expensive shoes. And while they had wide sizes (less in anything remotely feminine vs. guy shoes and even less when you add an, "extra," or two in front of the word,"wide") none of them had anything addressing shoe height, hence the search for shoes for medical conditions.

Still nada, but ran into a few crappy shoe sites that didn't even let me search by size. What is the point of finding a perfect pair of shoes only to discover it is not made in the size I need---unlike clothing, one cannot diet to get a smaller shoe size (for the most part).

Okay, I will grant you that of the estimated 2.5 million LE sufferers in the US, over half of them are cancer patients, predominantly breast cancer survivors. Meaning their ARMS are affected, not their feet. But, even at 1/3 of 2.5 million that's still a captive audience of 833,333 people in desperate need of a product to fill their need. 8x the total number of people in the UK who have LE. And ~no one~ can step up.

I wish to heaven I had the skills to be a shoe designer. I'd make a fortune (and do it without charging one!).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tirade: You Gave Her a WHAT?!

Parents (NOT grandparents, just 'rents!) you'll feel me.

Childless people, you NEED to pay attention.

Today we are discussing inappropriate gifts for children. Specifically LIVE gifts. Seriously folks, unless the little darlings' parent told you, "Go buy my kid a puppy/kitty/bunny/baby chick/pony," DO NOT DO IT.

Yes, pony. No finger pointing, but someone in our extended family wanted to buy J a horse. A HORSE. Horses are cheap. To buy. It's the care, feeding, and boarding that will convince you the horse has a better life than you do since his monthly roof rent is almost as much as yours. I pointed this out, kindly but vehemently, to the well-meaning relative and that was it.

I would love to be able to own a horse for my horse-crazy girl to enjoy, but it's just not in my budget. I'm struggling now to figure out how to pay for horse camp for the summer as it is...

Not all such bullets have been dodged, unfortunately.

One Easter weekend we went to visit my father and his wife. They were out at the barn where they kept their horses, sheep, and other random urban livestock--they live in Houston--and my dad was mowing the lot/pasture with a riding mower with the heavy duty pull behind mower attachment.

He mowed over a rabbit warren (thankfully BEFORE we got there!) With babies. Cute babies, babies old enough to eat real food. Only one survived the mower, though. TES (that would be The Evil Stepmother) rescued the baby bunny and took it in the barn.

We arrived, let the girlchild uno--this was in the late 90's--pet all the critters, have her pic taken with the horses, etc. I went out to talk to my dad. When I cam back to the barn my girl was proudly holding a cat carrier containing (guess!) and telling us all about her own personal Easter bunny.

She gave my kid a baby rabbit.

Ummm... No.

Guess who had to call the urban animal rescue when we got back to Austin to determine what to feed it, how to care for it, etc.? Yea, NOT the person who gave her the stupid (but yes, cute, fluffy, soft, and scared out of its little tiny mind) bunny that's for sure. Fortunately our bunny was determined to be old enough to be self-sufficient and we picked a favorite park where we like to play that had a lot of wooded trails and plenty of cover and set it free.

Buy me a margarita sometime and I'll tell you the story of how it "mysteriously" (quoting the 3yo here) got out of it's carrier on the way to the park...

My friend, Crystal recently became grandmother to a tarantula in a not dissimilar way, though I suspect her hubs may have colluded on that one since he had big nasty hairy spiders as a kid...

Do not, not, not, not, not give live gifts to other people's kids. Ever. PLEASE.

While I'm thinking about it, ask them before you give their 4yo daughter pink pleather hot pants and real, takes-acetone-to-remove-it-from-the-carpet, nail polish, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Karma Wants Me to Get Healthy. Really.

We were members of the YMCA years ago since they have the only indoor pool(s) in town that allow kids in the pool.

Side note: J has lymphedema (more info at the woefully un-updated lymphbaby) and hydro is excellent for her feet. The condition is not severe enough to mandate Rx hydro, so we make do on our own at the Y. And I ~really~ wish she'd stop singing that song every time we get in the car to head over there!

When the budget got tight we let it lapse (2004, 2005? somewhere in there). Then dh got a new job in 2009. One of the benefits is that they will pay up to $30/month for gym membership. That's almost half our family membership to the Y, so we re-joined last week.

We signed up to get J in a nice, indoor pool for her piggies. And so that I could take the free monthly water aerobics classes.

See, I do want to get into shape. Being anywhere from 100-130lbs overweight, depending on the chart you use, is getting old.

7 years ago I thought I was big as a house, but when I go back and look at my fitness logs (yea, I know, I'm a geek and a list freak, I keep logs and spreadsheets of all sorts of crap) I weighed roughly 40lbs less than I do now. This is NOT GOOD.

I'm signed up for an official twice-weekly class after work beginning in June, and plan to attend an open (no sign up required) class at another location this month. Beginning Monday.

We went as a family to the pool on Friday night and I realized that the, ahem, plunging neckline of the suit I bought for vacation last summer was not really practical for an exercise class. Not if I wanted to stay IN the suit. (I totally bought it for dh... *egrin*).

All of which leads me to yesterday afternoon. When I commenced the Great Swimsuit Hunt 2010. Y'see, finding a suit that fits is no easy task when it needs to have enough fabric to cover me as to cover the front end of a small car. I did my homework online, but I wanted to find one I could try on. I looked up the stores where I've found suits in the past, then abandoned the fam and headed out on what I fully anticipated would be an hours-long slog through too many stores and dressing rooms.

The first store I went to (Sears, if any of you other size22/24 ladies are curious) had a decent amount of options in stock in my size. I wanted a one-piece with no skirt--those things hold something like 30lbs of water in the skirt material!--but that was not meant to be.

Failing that, I wanted something with:
  • a long enough top to cover things (mah belly) no one wants to see after having two kids
  • a sport back because straps tend to stretch over time and then the over-exposure problems begin again.
  • brief bottom (see notes re: skirted suits above).
After a bit of trial error I found something that met all the above requirements and got my first pleasant surprise of the day: I needed a smaller size (though only on top) than I thought I did. Woot.

Second pleasant surprise came 15 minutes later at the register: It was ON SALE.

Conclusion: Karma wants ME to get fit. I paid 50% off regular retail and got what I wanted at the first store I went to. What other explanation makes sense?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Healthy (?) Choice

Okay... I am like, the world's WORST dieter.

The only time I kinda even a little stick to a healthy eating plan is at work. I bought a fridge, the office mate contributed an old microwave and I stock frozen meals and Campbell's Select Harvest Light soups. This is what you call dieting by default. It's not so much that I'm making a good choice as it is that I eliminated the unhealthy options. As long as Raidman doesn't call and ask if I want to go to lunch and foil my 'plan.'

I've always been a fan of Healthy Choice, just because their (old) bright green labels made it easy to grab and tell myself I was doing the right thing. I'm even trying, in a very lazy way, to get a little closer to natural foods, lower preservatives, less processed stuff, etc. So I was super excited when I found the Healthy Choice All Natural entrees at HEB a couple weeks ago.

Then I ate one for lunch yesterday. This one, in fact.

It is pretty good. The veggies are tender but still have a little crunch to them (which, I admit, I don't really like, but other people do so I'm mentioning it as a public service) and the ravioli themselves are pretty yummy in spite of the ricotta (ewww) inside. All five of the ravioli that is.

In the spirit of scientific inquiry I measured them. They are all of 2in square and NOT puffy (totally not Chef Boyardee looking!).

Chef Boyardee image courtesy of cfinke via

I know the picture on the HC box is meant to entice, but come on, it has twice the ravioli my box had, easily.

Serving size: 9 oz (255 g)

Umm, yea. I'm pretty sure that weight includes the plastic tray - and that it is 2/3 of the total.

I can easily believe the box's claim that this is 30% of my daily fruit and veg. Problem is, it's mostly fruit and mostly tomato sauce. I didn't count my slices (half slices, technically, since they were half moons and most even smaller than that!) of squash and zucchini, but there were less than a dozen total. And they were all half the size of the ravioli or smaller. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to get that 30% I'd have to dive in and lick the sauce off the plastic.

The sauce itself was, frankly, way too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth that has aided me in getting 100lbs over weight. Do you know how sweet it has to be for me to say it's too sweet?! Yea.

Then there's the thing that puts me over the edge. I'm overweight. I'm medicated for high blood pressure. And my "Healthy Choice" for lunch has TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT of my recommended sodium for the day? In five freakin' ravioli?! Come ON Con-Agra (*shudder* wish I hadn't read the side of the box to find out who makes this now... I've seen Food, Inc.!) If it was really a healthy choice it wouldn't have 8g of sugar (twice what it has in fiber!) and 580mg of sodium.

I want a healthy choice that's really healthy. Is that so much to ask? And, umm... Can it be healthy AND more than 8 bites? I didn't get where I am by eating light.

Side note: Here's a thought! Can someone make freezer meals for the obese that work like nicotine patches... You start out with Hungry Man portions, end up with Healthy Choice ones - gradual steps to retrain your body?

Damn, I'm a freakin' genius

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stumble Is Making Me Crunchy

I ~used~ to be a Stumble addict. I'm mostly over it, but that handy dandy little toolbar button is good for morning coffee-not awake yet randomness.

While I am far from crunchy--being a working and wahm mom and wife I am all about convenience most of the time--if I can be greener/crunchier easily I'm willing to give it a shot. Stumble knows this.

A couple of days ago I stumbled (literally) across Simple Mom's blog post on the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM to the fanatics). I had flawless skin in high school. Then I turned 21. Being alcohol legal may have had something to do with the decline in my skin, but since I've never been a huge drinker, I doubt it. Then I had kids. And discovered the joys of adult acne. NOT.

So I thought, what the hell, I'll give this a try. Of course, my cleanser mix is insanely complex--Target didn't have castor oil, I was out of EVOO, and I have a shoe box of supplies I bought during my "home made bath salts" phase in the late 90s. We'll see. Washed my face tonight and the smell was fantastic. The tea tree, eucalyptus, and clary sage totally masked the sheep smell of the liquid lanolin...

I also followed the link to her post on going shampoo-free. Since I've been paying $15+ a bottle for 10oz bottles of conditioner for the last two years, Imma try that out, too.

And I followed the link to 30-days to less convenience food AND it integrates with my Google calendar? Sure, sign me up!

If I start wearing hemp and stop wearing deodorant someone intervene and cancel my StumbleUpon account, please :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Tirade - Brought to you by Thermos

DISCLAIMER: I want to apologize in advance for (ab)using the Thermos (R) brand name, but I've never seen a generic name for this product, though I have seen the generic product, it just never registered.

Having said that...

Did you have a lunchbox when you were a kid? The old school metal ones with a thermos inside that had the built in cup/lid cover? They were cool, weren't they? I mean that literally, too. My kool-aid stayed cold all morning in that puppy. And my chicken noodle soup? You could burn your tongue at lunch if you weren't careful to eat your crackers while the soup cooled to edible temperature in the cup/bowl/lid.

Well, my girl doesn't have that problem. Why? Because some moron kid somewhere dropped a Thermos, the glass liner inside broke, and the idiot didn't notice the shiny silver glass shards or the tinkling noise it made and ate/drank from it anyway. Now they line them with metal.

Which DOES NOT WORK as well. Some days it barely works at all. You can still find a few glass-lined Thermos vacuum bottles, but they are all huge and meant for construction workers or whomever to carry coffee. Way too big for a lunch box.

So now my kid gets cold food. Or warm drinks. Or, my favorite problem with the metal liners... They create such a hard vacuum when you seal in hot food that she can't open it at lunch. Apparently the adult lunch monitors can't either. Yet I always can... (rant for another day)

Meaning my kid gets snacks for lunch and comes home starving crabby. Since the crabby is a semi-given at age 9, I could really do without the starving.


(thermoses? thermosii? anyone know the 'correct' plural for this?)

(Thermos image courtesy of, despite the watermark, lol...)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Made me giggle #248

Toll Tag FAIL

Saw this on a car a couple weeks ago and had to snap a picture. I'm actually kind of impressed, though. Considering that the adhesive on these things is on the face, how in the hell did this person manage to stick it to the OUTSIDE of their windshield still facing the proper direction?

Monday, January 25, 2010


That, apparently, is where this blog resides. Sorry to do it, but I'm turning the annoying real-person checker back on since I've wasted far too much time lately deleting spam comments. To those of you who ARE real people, I apologize.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Stole This Topic From a Xangan

I have a confession. Blogger and I, we're not exclusive.

I keep my book blog/reading log on WordPress, and a writing exercise blog on Xanga.

I don't like Xanga, but I signed up as part of a writing group several years ago -- our group leader was a Xangan and it was the only way to participate. I haven't posted anything to my Xanga site in ages and don't maintain it. But, while I was hanging out over there I found a few bloggers I enjoy reading and Xanga does offer the awesome feature of emailing me their entire posts, with images, in a daily digest.

Today's included this post by author Jeff Markowitz about books as gifts and asking people what books they gave or received for the holidays.

I love books as gifts, both getting AND giving. And I'm trying to encourage my 8 yo's slowly developing love of stories, so I buy her lots of books year-round.

For Christmas 2009 (since that's what we celebrate here at ScoopCentral) I gave lots of books:

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

My baby brother (he turned 30 last year, but being able to call him that as long as we both live is one of the few perks of being the oldest kid) is in lurve. He's in lurve with a woman who has him reading new things and is a huge Koontz fan. I am not a huge Koontz fan (and yes, I have read more than one of his books) but I LOVE his "Odd Thomas" series. I told the Penguin (baby bro's super-secret codename stemming from a childhood obsession with the aforementioned flightless fowl) that if he was gonna read Koontz he had to read these and got him the first one for Christmas. Turns out he'd already read it (damn! hate when that happens) but didn't own a copy, so all was good.

Jigsaw Dinosaurs by Anne Sharp

This was a shameless re-gift. The girl is 8 and girly and kicked this off her shelves about a year ago. I am, however, aunt/great aunt to two little boys, one 6yo and one 1yo. Boys tend to hold onto the dino thing longer than girls, so this one was cleaned up, made sure all the puzzles had all their pieces, and passed on to my 6yo nephew. I hope he liked it as much as J did (I had to work this joyous season and didn't get to see any of dh's side of the family open their prezzies).

Fail Nation by

Bought this for the hubs. His favorite app on his ipod touch is the one from failblog, so this just seemed to fit. And he's impossible to shop for and I was desperate. And it was on sale.

What can I say, visual humor has a limited lifespan for me, so I don't find it all that funny, but hey, it wasn't a gift for me...

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

I've been reading Ree Drummond's blog off an on for years, and I was SO excited when I found out her book tour was coming to Austin. I put it on my calendar 2 months in advance.

Then, a week and a half before the big night my dad told me he was having surgery and wanted me to be there. Since he normally waits til after it's over and done to tell me he's doing things like this I figured I should take the day off, drive to Houston, and be there.
The surgery was the day before Ree was in Austin.

I could go to the book signing, or I could work late and make up the time for the day I took off and get a nice, whole paycheck 3 weeks before Christmas. The paycheck won. But Lisa got to to go and took lots of pics! She even let me fondle her signed copy of the book over the holidays.

I bought this one for my mom because Ree reminds me a lot of my mom and it's rare I run across a cookbook my mom will like that she hasn't already bought for herself. Ma's kitchen has three bookshelves--nuff said.

A Scanner Darkly (Graphic Novel) by Philip K. Dick w/ Harvey Pekar

Basically just screen shots from the 2006 movie, but it's cool anyway. And my Dad2 is a sci-fi geek who read PKD before they changed his titles and turned his stories into movies.

The Hungry Scientist Handbook by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns

Okay... So I was browsing and saw this and ordered it for Dad2 without checking the description. He taught physics and chemistry for 20 years, I thought it would be appropriate. Then he opened it and started flipping through it. This is one weird book. But he seemed to like it.

Just, well, I don't actually EVAR want to know about it if he decides to make the edible undies in the book!

Finally, the books I bought the GirlChild. Frankly, there are too many of them for me to attempt to go find cover images on the web and think up witty bonmots. You get a list and Amazon links and you're going to like it!

(sorry, forgot my audience for a minute there...)

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel - It's too easy for J, but she loved the original Bad Kitty so much I couldn't pass up this older kid book...

Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay - She's a horse girl. Nuff said.

The girls also likes cats... All of the below are by Erin Hunter

Forest of Secrets (Warriors, book 3)

Warriors: Ravenpaw's Path #1: Shattered Peace

Warriors: Tigerstar and Sasha #3: Return to the Clans

The last two are graphic novels. I started buying them for her last year in hopes that they would eventually lead to her reading the full-length, no-pictures Warriors books. For a change, it worked! She just finished the first Warriors book last week and was SO proud of herself. It is her first longer novel that she read all on her own. She started book 2 this week, too.

Now, the big question:

What books did YOU give as gifts this year?